Daily News

Western New England University Plans to Host Unrestricted In-person Classes This Fall

SPRINGFIELD — After successfully holding classes primarily on campus under stringent COVID-19 safety protocols throughout the fall of 2020 and spring of 2021, Western New England University (WNEU) announced plans to return to unrestricted in-person learning for the fall of 2021.

The announcement was made by WNEU President Robert Johnson in a letter to the campus community on March 16. Of the roughly 3,000 colleges and universities tracked by the College Crisis Initiative, Western New England University was one of just 27% of schools nationwide that resumed primarily in-person teaching last fall that continued throughout the spring through careful adherence to COVID-19 safety protocols.

The letter describes the plan for all on-ground courses to be in classrooms without social-distancing restrictions in place.

“We must thrive in uncertainty by being well-informed, decisive, and extremely well-prepared,” Johnson said. “The decision to return to campus in this way has not been made lightly or without a great deal of planning.” He added that detailed feedback and support from university administration, along with guidance from state and national health experts, led to this decision.

He noted that, while the university will prepare for mostly on-ground, in-person, unrestricted classes to resume in the fall, detailed contingency plans are in place if WNEU needs to revert to classrooms with social distancing. “We will be ready to execute our plan in a quick and organized manner that will reduce class sizes and add more hybrid options to the course schedule.”

Johnson expressed to the community that he looks forward to a return to the close interaction with students that is a hallmark of a WNEU education. “I want to emphasize that university faculty and staff will be fully prepared to deal with whatever our situation may bring, as has been the case all along. I am both cautious and optimistic in all that we are planning for you.”